In 1882-4, Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland described Abbey St Bathans like this:
Abbey St Bathans, a hamlet and a parish in the Lammermuir district of Berwickshire, took its name partly from a Cistercian nunnery, party from Baithene, Columba's cousin and successor at Iona. The hamlet lies in a pleasant haugh on the river Whitadder, here spanned by a suspension bridge, and is 4 ½ miles WSW of Grants House station, and 7 miles NNW of its post-town, Dunse. ...
The nunnery of St Mary was founded towards the close of the 12th century by Ada, Countess of Dunbar, was a cell of South Berwick, and had an income of £47, but is now represented only by the E and W walls of its chapel, which, originally 58 by 26 feet, was greatly curtailed and modernised about the end of last century. In its altered condition it serves as the parish church, and contains 140 sittings. A school, with accommodation for 72 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 62, and a grant of £66, 12s.
The parish has an extreme length of nearly 6 miles and a breadth of 4, but is broken up by Longformacus and Cockburnspath into three sections of respectively 3045½, 1685, and 97½ acres. The surface includes Abbey Hill (913 feet), Barnside Hill (865), the Camp (803), and several other lower eminences, yet comprises a good aggregate of fertile and well-cultivated lowland: and while the upper grounds are mostly bare or heathy, the lower slopes are often finely wooded up to a considerable height. The prevailing rocks are Silurian, and a copper-mine was opened in 1828, but soon abandoned. The Whitadder, winding from W to E, is here a beautiful stream, over 30 feet wide, and here it receives the Monynut Water and the Weir and Eller burns. All abound in trout, and Moor Cottage is a favourite anglers' haunt. Godscroft, on the Monynut, was the demesne of David Hume (1560-1630), historian of the house of Angus: while Abbey House is a modern erection, the property of John Turnbull, Esq., who owns in the shire 4842 acres, valued at £2526 per annum: and one other proprietor holds an annual value of over £500, two hold each between £100 and £500, and one holds less than £100. The parish is in the presbytery of Dunse and synod of Merse and Teviot: its minister's income is £195. Valuation (1881) £2634. Pop. (1801) 138, (1831) 122, (1871) 195, (1881) 250.Ord. Sur., sh. 33, 34, 1863-64.
Abbey St Bathans is now part of Scottish Borders district. Click here for graphs and data of how Scottish Borders has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Abbey St Bathans itself, go to Units and Statistics.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Abbey St Bathans, in Scottish Borders and Berwickshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 29th March 2017
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